One of the most common questions sellers ask when they’re putting a home on the market is “Do I need to disclose everything that’s wrong with my home?” Legally mandated disclosures are meant to protect buyers from ending up with homes that have major problems, but they can also make it a little challenging to sell a property. Many sellers make the mistake of disclosing unnecessary things, which can end up scaring away buyers. The experienced agents from 92101 Urban Living, the premier experts on downtown San Diego real estate, offer advice about these four things you’re not legally required to disclose.
1. Things You’re Not Aware Of
This is the major loophole in disclosure laws. Sellers aren’t legally required to disclose a problem if they aren’t aware of the issue. For example, if your property has termites but you’ve never seen any eggs, insects, or damaged wood, it would be possible for you to miss the infestation. If you aren’t aware of it, you don’t have to disclose this problem to your buyer. Keep in mind this isn’t something you should lie about. It’s generally quite easy for buyers to access old home repair records and find out whether or not you were aware of the problem.
2. Providers of Internet Service in the Area
This is an example of how real estate law hasn’t quite caught up with modern concerns. Many buyers want to know which Internet service providers are willing to provide service to the home. You can choose to share this information with them, but sellers aren’t legally required to mention an issue such as a notoriously problematic ISP being the only service provider in the area. It’s up to the buyer to check with providers if they care about this issue.
3. Certain Types of Death
Generally, sellers are only required to disclose deaths that occurred within three years of the time the buyer is putting an offer on the house. If the death occurred before that, you don’t have to bring it up when disclosing issues to the buyer. When the death is more recent, sellers generally have to disclose how the death occurred, unless the person died of AIDS. It’s considered a form of discrimination to mention that a death occurred due to AIDS, so sellers don’t have to disclose the cause of death in these situations.
4. Some Issues with Neighbors
Sellers are required to disclose that there are neighbors who are noisy or otherwise a nuisance. However, as long as the neighbor isn’t technically being a public nuisance or impairing a homeowner’s enjoyment of his or her own property, the seller doesn’t normally have to disclose the problem to the buyer. For example, you may not have to disclose that you have a neighbor who hung an offensive sign outside his or her home but didn’t directly harass you or inconvenience you with his or her offensive views.
Whether they’re selling lofts in the Gaslamp Quarter or have condos for sale in Little Italy, San Diego homeowners need to know exactly what they’re required to disclose to buyers. Trust an experienced real estate agent from 92101 Urban Living to help you navigate the selling process. Give us a call today at 619-649-0368 to schedule an appointment.